Lewis & Clark Powder Cannister

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I believe it was somewhere around 30 cal. It took 1500 pumps to charge the air reservoir. It was never used against a human being.
That's not quite true, there was a woman shot in the head by accident wasn't there? While they were making there way down the Ohio? I think she survived too, was grazed or something like that. I know its a play on words here jus fun'n.

RM
 

beardedhorse

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I know Stuart Weir and was fortunate enough to see and handle his lead powder cannisters in person. He is a consummate researcher and if you haven't opened up his article it will be enlightening. Our club is ordering black powder - Schuetzen in 50 pound bags and are scrambling to find enough empty one pound cans to store them in. An eight pound lead cannister that holds four pounds of powder would be a novel solution.
 
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Ever since I read the journals of Lewis and Clark as a young boy, I was taken by the cleverness of Lewis's method of storing powder in a lead canister that used just enough lead to make bullets for all the powder in the can. Made of soldered lead, they were corrosion proof, water proof, and sealed with a cork dipped in sealing wax or pitch. By their account, the canisters held 4 pounds of powder and were made of 8 pounds of lead. Assuming they were shooting 0.560 cal balls (~264 grains each) in .58 cal weapons (on average), eight pounds of lead would make up about 212 round balls. With 4 pounds of powder (28,000 grains) in the can, that would leave them 132 grains of powder per shot (including prime). That seemed a little stiff to me, but when you consider that they were shooting elk, buffalo, and griz....maybe it's even a little light. At any rate, it was a @!*% clever idea. So clever that I thought I would make one up for myself, just to keep up on the work shop shelf. While there are sparse verbal descriptions of the original canisters, none now exist and, as far as I can discover, there are not even any sketches of the original design. Also, I didn't want to make one up quite as large as the originals. So, starting with the assumption of holding one pound of powder for a .50 cal rifle, I came up with the dimensions for a canister with a 2.5 inch inside diameter and 6.4 inches tall made out of 0.090 thick sheet lead. The end result, shown in the following photos is made of 2.6 pounds of lead and will cast up just over 100 balls (0.490 diameter and ~176 grains each). Holding one pound of powder, that leaves me with 70 grains of powder per shot - close enough. Anyway, just thought it was a fun thing to do in a couple of hours and thought someone else here might enjoy seeing it.





Yes, love it! I have the excellent book on the L&C trek that came out around 2000 or so; don't have the title at my fingertips, but meant to have it in my wallet as I've wanted to be able to post a reference here. You really made a nice post, great photos, I love the pistol! Lewis had a brace of pistols and had to give one to a Chief for some badly needed horses; probably lost to history somewhere! Any muzzle-loader should read about the amazing trek, losing no or maybe one guy, the resoursefullness of those guys was astounding. The communication was tricky, sometimes had three or four people speaking diff. Native and Euro languages in a round-about circle to get to the point in English!
 
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Our club is ordering black powder - Schuetzen in 50 pound bags and are scrambling to find enough empty one pound cans to store them in.

They have bigger cans
 
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